EFJ and partners press for changes to protect journalist safety in Slovakia

On December 6, 2018, nine partner organizations and observers of the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists conducted a press freedom solidarity mission to Slovakia to press for full justice in the case of assassinated journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, who were murdered on February 21, 2018. The delegation – from the Association of European Journalists (AEJ), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited, Index on Censorship, International News Safety Institute (INSI), International Press Institute (IPI), PEN International, Rory Peck Trust, along…

EFJ and press freedom groups to carry out solidarity visit to Slovakia

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and eight leading international press freedom organizations representing the Council of Europe’s Platform to promote the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists, gathered for a semi-annual meeting in Vienna, will conduct a brief solidarity visit to Bratislava, Slovakia on the afternoon of Thursday, December 6, 2018. The groups will highlight the need for further progress in the investigation into the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak. Representatives of the nine organizations will hold a meeting with Slovak government officials and conduct a solidarity visit to the offices of Aktuality.sk, where Jan Kuciak…

Council of Europe debates “quality journalism” and safety of journalists

Meeting in Strasbourg on 27-30 November, the Council of Europe Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) went through the details of a draft “Declaration on the financial sustainability of quality journalism in the digital age”. The text proposes for example to create “redistribution mechanisms between online platforms and media companies” and to “support measures to counter the progressive deterioration of the working conditions of journalists”. Most of the discussion was dedicated to the preamble of the draft Declaration: whereas most delegations agreed that “quality journalism extends the range of diverse, credible, interesting and timely information available to the…

Council of Europe: #EndImpunity for crimes against journalists

Today, marking the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’, the Safety of Journalists Platform launches a special page, which presents 16 cases of unsolved murders of journalists in the Council of Europe member states, as submitted by the partner organisations, including the European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists. These cases are listed on the platform as impunity for murders, highlighting deficiencies in investigations and failure to bring to justice all the perpetrators, the organisers or the masterminds of these crimes. The 16 cases are: Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev (2013, Russian Federation); Mikhail Beketov (2013, Russian Federation); Hrant Dink (2007,…

Russia: record fine against The New Times

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)  has joined its Russian affiliate, RUJ, in condemning the record fine imposed on 26th October by a Moscow court against the Russian independent news website The New Times. Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court imposed fines of 22.250.000 rubles (EUR 300.000) against The New Times and 30.000 rubles (EUR 400) against the website’s editor, Yevgenia Albats, for allegedly failing to comply with financial reporting obligations under Russia’s controversial “foreign agents” law. In an interview with RFE/RL, Yevgenia Albats said she believed the court decision was intended to punish her for an interview she conducted on the…

Nordic Freelance conference: solidarity to support freelance journalists under attack in Belarus

The Nordic Freelance Conference 2018 took place this year in Malmö, Sweden. The Frilans Riks, the freelance section within the Swedish Union of Journalist (SJF), organised a two day conference focusing on threats against freelance journalists in particular from right wing extremists, rise in self-censorship, dialogue with the police, media situation in Belarus, as well as the power structure of the big tech companies (“GAFA”). EFJ Director Renate Schroeder outlined the work of EFJ and its Freelance Expert Group (FREG) with a special focus on its advocacy work in Brussels for improving freelance rights and monitoring increasing threats against (freelance)…

EFJ condemns Italian government threat to cut indirect state funding to newspapers

Italian government threatens to cut indirect state funding to the press, accusing newspapers of “polluting the debate”. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) join their affiliate the Federazione Nazionale Stampa Italiana (FNSI) in strongly condemning these threats and expressing serious concerns over the press situation in Italy. The government’s announcement was made on 12 September and throughout last week by Luigi Di Maio, head of the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and key figure in Italy’s government. On his Facebook account, the deputy prime minister threatened the press in a post saying that…

Russian journalist Alexander Sokolov released from detention

Journalist Alexander Sokolov, an investigative reporter who was detained since July 2015 and sentenced to three and half years of jail in August 2017, has been released on August 28, 2018. Sokolov announced the release on his social media, saying, that he would not call it a release, because he will still be under restrictions of freedom by judicial authorities. Sokolov was released after a number of appeals under an updated law redefining how time spent in pre-trial detention is deducted from jail terms. The charges against journalist, filed in 2015, were based on his involvement in a group called For a Responsible…

Council of Europe: blocking online content is serious interference with freedom of expression

Blocking of online content and social media, throttling of internet traffic and shutdowns of entire websites constitute the most serious interference with online expression, preventing information from reaching its intended audience, states the fifth annual report by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland. The report analyses the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe, based on the findings of the Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms and bodies. Among the main findings, the focus was drawn to the freedom of expression, especially concerning the troubling tendencies of intimidation and threats against journalists around Europe –…

Macedonia: Election Commission authorised to fine media for ‘Unbalanced Reporting’

Several amendments to the Electoral Code were passed  by the Macedonian Parliament on 25 July 2018 in a fast-track procedure, as a result of a political agreement between the leaders of the four main political parties. An amendment to the Electoral Code empowers the State Election Commission to register and monitor online media reporting on the elections. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) supports its Macedonian affiliates, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM-ZNM), the Independent Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM), joined by the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia, in criticising the new Electoral Code, as the…

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